Do you know the top men’s health threats? The list is surprisingly short — heart disease, cancer and unintentional injury. Thankfully, most men’s health threats are largely preventable. However – men are notorious for avoiding the doctor. Don’t wait to visit the doctor until something is seriously wrong. Your doctor can be your best ally for preventing health problems.
“The impact may be greater than you’ll ever know,” said Jeff Neal, DO, PharmD, Catawba Valley Cardiology. “Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations if you have health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Also, be sure to ask your doctor if you have questions about your health risks. Understanding that you have certain risks is one thing. Taking action to reduce those risks is another.”
Dr. Neal suggests that patients bring a list of questions with them during an appointment. For example:
- What is my risk for heart disease?
- What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
- What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?
- What are my body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement? Do they indicate that I need to lose weight for my health?
- What is my blood sugar level? Does it mean I’m at risk for diabetes?
- What other screening tests for heart disease do I need? How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
- For smokers: What can you do to help me quit smoking?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart? What kinds of activities are helpful?
- What is a heart healthy eating plan for me? Should I see a registered dietitian or qualified nutritionist to learn more about healthy eating?
- How can I tell if I’m having a heart attack?